The Avila walkers

 

The Avila walkers are born from an encounter with this small Spanish town. Based on her own photos, in an approach first of deconstruction, then of reconstruction, Nancy Barwell creates new imaginary spaces. The escape lines, vaults, columns give life to scenes where the passers by disappear like fleeting shadows or hollow silhouettes. Certain plastic objects, such as street lamps, folds or inscriptions arrive to divide the space and enrich the enigmatic aspect of these compositions. The breaks in form and space, the linked values multiply the facets and successive times of the walking's movement. Sometimes a budding and compact human mass slides into the mysterious folds of the composition. All these forms combine in a space, which has been reinvented, which attempts to draw the mind into the eye’s mobility. This slipping of perception develops anguish and introduces the regard’s ambiguity between that which shows itself and that which can really be seen. If, in certain parts of the picture, the spectator can feel a communality with the walkers, in other parts he can no longer feel it, finding himself in suspension, or even excluded from the scene, delivered to the perplexity of the questioning between that which he sees and knows to be real, and that which he knows is not true.


Preoccupied with such questions as origin, territory, memory and loss, this artist uses in her plastic works the figure of the Walker as a paradigm for the human who advances, not towards a destination but towards a destiny. She uses the plastic qualities of the shadow which accompanies each silhouette. The use of charcoal, medium as fragile as the memory of a dream, is a meditative and nostalgic speck of dust remaining from the time which passes. It crumbles away and only leaves some vague traces on the paper as on the fingers. But the vibrations of each drawn line enable the reflecting discovery of the intimate, balancing between emptiness and mystery.